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Sun Apr 20 05:11:59 SAST 2014

Phelps breaks medal record in relay

Reuters | 31 July, 2012 22:380 Comments
Michael Phelps of the US kisses his 19th Olympic medal presented to him in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 31, 2012
Image by: Michael Dalder / REUTERS

Michael Phelps won a record 19th Olympic medal on Tuesday when he joined forces with his U.S. team mates to win the 4x200 metres freestyle relay at London's Aquatic Centre.

Following his shock defeat in the 200 butterfly final an hour earlier, Phelps surpassed Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympian of all time.

The win provided him with his 15th career gold medal to go with his two silver and two bronze medals.

The Americans were overwhelming favourites to win the relay and the result was never in doubt after Ryan Lochte gave them the lead after the lead-off leg.

Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens kept America's lead by the time Phelps dived in for the anchor leg and he brought them home in a combined time of six minutes, 59.70.

Lochte captured his second gold medal in London after winning the 400 individual medley on the opening day of competition and the fifth of his career.

France, who upset the Americans in the 4x100 freestyle final on Saturday, took the silver medal while China grabbed the bronze after Sun Yang anchored them home.

Olympics: Michael Phelps factfile

Factfile on Michael Phelps who became the most decorated athlete in Olympic history on Tuesday with 19 medals, surpassing the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina from 1956-1964:

Name: Michael Phelps

Date of birth: June 30, 1985

Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland

Nationality: USA

Lives: Baltimore, Maryland

Height: 1.93m

Weight: 83.9kg

Sport: Swimming

Olympic medals:

2004: Gold: 100m/200m butterfly, 200m/400m individual medley, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay

Bronze: 200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay

2008: Gold: 200m freestyle, 100m/100m butterfly, 200m/400m individual medley, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay

2012: Gold: 4x200m freestyle relay

Silver: 4x100m freestyle relay, 200mfly

World Championships medals: 33 (26 gold, 6 silver, 1 bronze)

Career highlights:

First US male swimmer to qualify for fourth Olympic team, 2012

Won historic eight gold medals at 2008 Beijing Olympics, setting seven world records

Set four individual world records and won seven gold medals at 2007 world championships

At 2004 Athens Olympics, his eight medals included six gold as he matched Soviet gymnast Alexandr Dityatin (1980) for most medals at a single Games

Only man to win five US national titles at a single championships

Only man to win a US national title in three different strokes at one championship

Youngest man (15 years, 9 months) to break a world record -- 200m butterfly in March of 2001

Qualified for first Olympic team in 2000 at age 15, youngest male Olympian since 1932

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